|Salisbury House Arts Centre||Enfield|
Salisbury House is an early C17th timbered manor house, now used as an Arts Centre. The small garden in which it stands and the adjacent Bury Lodge Gardens are all that remain of its former grounds and the countryside that surrounded it, now largely built over by suburban housing. Until the C19th Salisbury House had a moat. It became a boys' school in the 1890s and from 1907 was owned by the Pratley family until 1935 when it was purchased by Edmonton UDC. Its future was most uncertain until 1957, when it was converted for use as an Arts Centre. At that point considerable works were carried out in both house and garden where removal of a large sycamore tree revealed a well that originally supplied water to the old kitchen cisterns; another well was discovered beneath a large beech tree.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2011
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Salisbury House is the oldest surviving example of domestic architecture in Enfield, an early C17th timbered manor house, which is all that remains of the hamlet of Bury Street, the most northerly settlement in Edmonton, now surrounded by suburbia. The small garden in which the house stands, and the adjacent municipal park - Bury Lodge Gardens (q.v.) - are all that remain of its former grounds and the countryside in which it stood. There was probably an earlier house of the same name on the site, for which there have been a number of possible derivations. The Manor of Edmonton was sometimes referred to as 'Sayesbury' probably from the de Say family who held the manor for 4 generations well before the building of the present house, having inherited through marrying into the de Mandeville family. Geoffrey de Mandeville had been awarded the Manor of Adelmetone or Edmonton and that of Enfield by William the Conqueror. The word 'bury' was sometimes used to denote a manor, so Salisbury House may have originated as Sayesbury House. A second explanation is that the Manor of Edmonton was owned in the C14th by Adam Fraunceys, Lord Mayor of London, whose daughter married John Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, who may have given his name to the house, although it is not listed as one of his properties in Edmonton in 1589.
The present house is a 3-storey gabled building, with brick at ground floor level and the upper stories and gables timber-framed and finished with lath and plaster. A staircase was built in a turret out from the west side, and the 2-storey entrance hall is of a later date. The interior has been substantially changed over the years but some oak panelling and a fireplace remain, although in 1907 the then-owner sold the best of two panelled rooms and an oak fire surround dating from 1625 to the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh. Renovations in the 1950s led to the discovery of a false chimney stack that may have been a priest's hole. Some C17th doors with iron hinges remain, as does a Queen Ann fireplace. It was rumoured that Judge Jefferies lived here and that underground passages led from the house to All Saints' Church Edmonton (q.v.) and other old houses in the district but there is no trace of this. In 1801/2, Salisbury House was owned by Mrs Sarah Salmon, who also owned the adjacent Bury Lodge and at one time the two houses may have been attached. Until the C19th Salisbury House had a moat, which was then filled in.
In 1876 Octavius Russel Fabian bought Salisbury House for £870, enlarging his property in 1884 by purchasing the meadow behind the moat for £109. In the early 1890s the house was briefly used by Alex Devine for a private boys' school, which soon outgrew the house and moved first to Mitcham, then in 1895 to Claysmore at Clay Hill, to Berkshire and finally to Dorset where it is still known as Claysmore. The property was again expanded in 1907 when Charles Pratley bought the house and land down to Salmons Brook. It remained in the ownership of the Pratley family, who also owned Bury Hall Nursery, until 1935 when it was sold for £4,500 with 2 acres of land to Edmonton Urban District Council. The older house next door, Bury Lodge, was demolished c.1935 and some of the materials were used in the repair of Salisbury House.
Salisbury House initially came under the Libraries Department who made some repairs to the roof and whose intended use for it was as a museum of local relics. It became the District Warden's headquarters during World War II, after which the house was unoccupied and fell into so bad a state of repair that the Council applied to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning for a decision as to saving it. In 1948 the Ministry informed the Council that Salisbury House was likely to be included on the Minister's statutory list of houses of architectural or historical interest in the borough. Its chequered history continued, however, with the Council's proposal to use it as a Rescue Training Centre approved by Middlesex County Council but then rejected by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in 1951. In 1953 the Council decided that it was unsuitable for a Museum and gained approval for it to be used for a Civic Centre and Club premises under the Physical Training and Recreation Act of 1937. Although it was given listed building status in 1953, the Borough architect the following year reported that it was not feasible to restore it at a reasonable cost and its future was once more in jeopardy. The Ministry of Works urged the Council to save the building, offering a grant of 50% of the restoration costs (£4,000 - £6,000), which was at first refused by the Council since this did not cover annual upkeep, but later accepted.
The building was finally restored and converted for use as an Arts Centre, which opened in 1957. At that point considerable works were carried out in both house and garden. The projecting 2-storey wing and original kitchen were demolished as unsafe. A large sycamore tree was removed revealing a well that originally supplied water to the old kitchen cisterns; another well was discovered on the east side beneath a large beech tree. Further restoration took place in 1991/2 using traditional building methods and the Centre was once more re-opened in October 1992. From March 1999, Edmonton Arts Partnership leased the building from Enfield Council, running it as an Art and Community Centre, but it now back under Council management. The garden contains a remnant of old red brick wall and some old trees, including an oak and a sycamore, but is largely as it was remodelled in the 1950s.
Salisbury House archive materials; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Arthur Mee 'The King's England: London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster' (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1972); local history leaflets